East Devon countryside a 'strong candidate' for national park status
PUBLISHED: 19:12 23 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:17 26 September 2019
The Government and Natural England should consider giving 'national park' status to much of East Devon, according to a major independent review.
The Glover Review, marking 70 years since the creation of the first national parks, was carried out by journalist, peer and landowner Julian Glover,
It calls for 'bold action to reignite the founding spirit of our great national park movement in order to make them greener, more beautiful and open to everyone', making a number of recommendations nationally.
It says the joint Dorset and East Devon areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and the Cotswolds AONB 'stand out as leading candidates' for national park status.
The area included in the Dorset and East Devon bid stretches from Exmouth, in the west, to Old Harry Rocks, near Swanage, in Dorset, in the east.
The Dorset and East Devon National Park Team welcomed the Glover Review's recognition that the area 'contains some of the greatest concentrations of biodiversity in Britain and opportunities for enjoyment' and includes the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site.
It welcomed the emphasis in the review 'on the vital contributions which National Parks can make to thriving and sustainable communities and rural economies, and to health and wellbeing for residents and visitors'.
"And we support the review's call for designated landscapes to play a vital role in nature recovery networks and in the response to climate change," the team said in a statement.
"We support their call for national funding for this vital work to be sustained and increased."
The team described Dorset and East Devon as the 'outstanding candidate' to be England's next national park.
It said: "In the 70th anniversary year of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, we look forward to continuing to work with councils and other stakeholders, and with Natural England and DEFRA, to bring to fruition this long-overdue national park."
The review, published on Saturday (September 21), praises the work done to maintain the beauty of places including Exmoor.
Other recommendations include a new National Landscapes Service to act as a unified body for England's 10 national parks and 34 AONBs, as well as a 1,000-strong ranger service to be the 'friendly face' of the national parks.